tip off

TIM DUNLOP | November 12, 2010 | CD REVIEW | 6 |

The Smoke Fairies (and goodbye)

CD Review The Smoke Fairies Through Low Light and Trees (Shock Records) I love this album. It’s like I dreamt it, a beautiful dream in which so much of the music I love magically combined somewhere deep in my unconscious and came out just the way I wanted it. And then it was sitting there [...]

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TIM DUNLOP | November 04, 2010 | CD REVIEW | 2 |

Gareth Liddiard, his guitar and his issues

CD Review Gareth Liddiard Strange Tourist (Shock Music) I’ve been listening to this album for a couple of weeks but I don’t think I really appreciated it till I happened to be listening to it in the recovery room after a recent operation on my knee. The surgery itself was pretty minor — repairing some [...]

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TIM DUNLOP | October 21, 2010 | CD REVIEW | 7 |

Self-consciously yours, Nick and Ben

CD Review Ben Folds and Nick Hornby Lonely Avenue (Warner Music) This is an album of great highlights and utter crap, an oddly self-conscious outing by two artists who in some ways were made for each other and who in some ways bring out the worst in each other. Ben Folds, in case you don’t [...]

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TIM DUNLOP | October 19, 2010 | MUSIC NEWS | 16 |

The state of the music industry

Yesterday independent music distributors Shock Records (one of the best, most efficient groups we deal with here at Johnnys) sent around a press release noting the success of one of their acts: BRING ME THE HORIZON ALBUM DEBUTS AT #1 ON ARIA CHARTS In an industry where times are tough and naysayers are plentiful, Shock [...]

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TIM DUNLOP | October 07, 2010 | INTERVIEW | 2 |

Joni Davis interview

I stumbled across Joni Davis’s album, A Bird’s Heart, while frigging around on We Are Hunted one day. What a find.  A lovely singer-songwriter album of understated but powerful songs by someone I’d never heard of before.  Serendipidity doesn’t get much better than that.

For me, the stand out track is ‘Black Smoke’, a scary chant of a song with a mesmerising melody that suits Davis’s voice to a tee.  But it is far from the only good track on the album, I was pleased to discover.

Fortunately, I recently got a chance to ask Joni some questions and I hope her answers give you some insight into her music.  I also hope you dig up her album and have a listen for yourself.  (Try CD Baby or iTunes.)

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TIM DUNLOP | October 05, 2010 | CD REVIEW | 5 |

Robert Plant and my part in his renaissance

CD Review
Robert Plant and the Band of Joy
Band of Joy
(Rounder)

I like the musical trajectory Robert Plant has taken since the heady daze of Led Zeppelin, not least because my own tastes have described a similar arc.  Not that I’m comparing myself to the rock icon, you understand; just that I find it interesting that Plant’s move into roots music mirrors precisely the path of a lot of ye olde time Zep fans I know.

I’m talking about Generation Jonesers who had Zeppelin as a staple of their musical diet and who have, through their own investigations, found their way into the folkways of the roots and alt.country scene that Plant is now involved with. What’s interesting to me is that the stories of these Gen Jonesers are often the same.

They were fanatical about whatever music they were into in their teenage years, were immersed in it so that it was a central part of their life and their identity, a state of affairs illustrated by the image of them moving into their first post-parental accommodation (generally a group house, often in another city) and taking with them — ahead of any other possessions — a milk crate (or ten) filled with LPs.

After that, moving into their twenties and thirties, getting jobs, maybe getting married, music was pushed more and more to the background.  Other things, like air, became more central to their lives, though catching up with old friends, now flung to the four corners of the world, inevitably involved breaking out the old LPs, or maybe the repurchased CD versions of the old albums, and reminiscing endlessly about how great those bands were.

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TIM DUNLOP | September 28, 2010 | DVD/MOVIE/TV REVIEW | 6 |

Down in the Treme

Written by David Simon, the person behind the acclaimed series, The WireTreme is a 10-part HBO series that dramatises the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s effect on the people of New Orleans — specifically in that district known as the Treme — and it is so good that it bears repeated viewing.  (Please note, there are spoilers in what follows.)

Like many contemporary television dramas, the story slowly unwinds by following disparate characters doing their thing, so that it is fair to say that it is more a show of subplots than a central narrative, a series of intertwining stories where the lives of the characters crisscross, sometimes meaningfully, sometimes tangentially, as they get on with rebuilding their homes, their city, their lives after the disaster of Katrina.

It is a wonderful form of storytelling that is perfect for this sort of long-form drama.

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TIM DUNLOP | September 24, 2010 | CD REVIEW | 1 |

Fisherking move in graceful circles

CD Review Fisherking Circles (Independent) Fisherking is a four-piece Sydney band that came to some prominence after winning JJJ’s Unearthed FUSE Festival Competition in 2009. They have previously released an EP and this is their first album. It’s great. Their own blurb describes their music thusly: “Bringing a fresh new approach to blues ‘n’ roots, FisherKing’s captivating [...]

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TIM DUNLOP | September 21, 2010 | CD REVIEW | 2 |

Me versus the Verses

CD Review The Verses Seasons (thru Warner Music) The Verses is the new band by former Killing Heidi siblings Ella and Jesse Hooper. And oh, what a disappointment this debut is. I love Ella’s voice, and the previous Verses’ EP showed some promise, but this album just falls flat.  I’m not going to spend a [...]

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TIM DUNLOP | September 20, 2010 | BOOK REVIEW | |

Making connexions

Book Review Rock Connexions by Bruno McDonald (Murdoch Books) My son and his friends at school play this game with Wikipedia where someone nominates a start page, say, Julia Gillard, and then someone else nominates an end page, say, the Codex Veronensis, and then you have to use the links embedded in Wikipedia to move [...]

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